Effect of dehydroepiandrosterone administration on recovery from mix-type exercise training-induced muscle damage

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2013 Jan;113(1):99-107. doi: 10.1007/s00421-012-2409-6. Epub 2012 May 16.


This study aimed to determine the role of DHEA-S in coping against the exercise training mixing aerobic and resistance components. During 5-day successive exercise training, 16 young male participants (19.2 ± 1.2 years) received either a placebo (flour capsule) or DHEA (100 mg/day) in a double-blinded and placebo-controlled design. Oral DHEA supplementation significantly increased circulating DHEA-S by 2.5-fold, but a protracted drop (~35 %) was observed from Day 3 during training. In the Placebo group, only a minimal DHEA-S reduction (~17 %) was observed. Changes in testosterone followed a similar pattern as DHEA-S. Muscle soreness was elevated significantly on Day 2 for both groups to a similar extent. Lower muscle soreness was observed in the DHEA-supplemented group on Day 3 and Day 6. In the Placebo group, training increased circulating creatine kinase (CK) levels by approximately ninefold, while only a threefold increase was observed in the DHEA-supplemented group. This mix-type exercise training improved glucose tolerance in both groups, while lowering the insulin response to the glucose challenge, but no difference between treatments was observed. Our results suggest that DHEA-S may play a role in protecting skeletal muscle from exercise training-induced muscle damage.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / administration & dosage
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / etiology
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Recovery of Function / drug effects*
  • Resistance Training*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone